Saturday, 31 July 2010

NAIL ART - not just for Nail technicians!

Grooming ourselves is a natural part of ‘making the right impression’, from our hair to our toes we try to make our self’s look good, and this in turn makes us feel good. But sometimes taking ourselves off to the hair salon or nail bar isn’t quite enough.  Now and then wouldn’t it be nice to while away the hours with a bottle of wine and some nail polish, painting our toes and touching up our finger nails, taking a moment to zone out and relax.  why not use this guide to take your nails one step further, adding flicks and flurries, attaching jewels and gems and release your creative side.   

As a nail technician I have many clients who have nail designs, ranging from a complete coloured gel overlay to an acrylic blend.  They are then free for the next two or three weeks to add to their designs, with the help of a simple how to guide my clients can change their nails to suit their moods or outfits.  

What you need
·          polish  - Orly
·          water based acrylic paint found in artist or craft shops
·          peel offs for card making available at craft stores
·          Top coat

STEP 1 - Apply polish

Peel Offs are another great way to change the look of your nails, these are available from most craft stores.  Generally used for making cards, they have a sticky backing.

  • step 1 – apply polish and allow to completely dry, approximately 30 minutes.
  • step 2 – select part of the peel off which you would like to place on the nail, use scissors to trip it into shape. Use all of the shapes, even the bits that are left behind.
  • step 3 – using long nosed tweezers gently stick your shape onto the polished nail.
  • step 4 – continue to add your shapes around the free edge of the nail, remember less is more
  • step 5 - apply top coat

General rules about applying nail art
·          There are no rules, if it doesn’t work out right, remember you can take it off and start again.
·          Give yourself plenty of time, remember it will need to dry too, so make yourself and cup of tea, and make sure the TV remote is handy for your drying time ( you will need at least 30 mins.
·          Try to imagine all ten nails are part of my canvas and build a design. The last thing I want is for all of the nails to look identical.  Let your artwork flow from one nail to another
·          Change the colours and combine different techniques. 

For more nail art steps visit  I will be posting more soon.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Tea for Two - How I came up with my Scratch Covers in May

May Cover - SCRATCH 2010

Deciding to do a photo shoot is no mean feat, first you need to find a good model, and one which is happy to sport long talons, thank fully Anna has come to my rescue more than once, letting me spend all afternoon applying tips, and then getting up extra early for a gruelling day at the studio. Then you need a photographer with vision, someone who can take your idea’s and listen to your words and produce an image which is just perfect.  Finally and most importantly you need an idea, now this one is sometimes the trickiest of all to get right.
Anna Suter - Model
You need to be a little creative, and when an idea pop’s into your head write it down, no matter how vague, then you can work and expand on it.  The idea for my English rose design came from my grandmother’s tea cup, a bone china cup and saucer decorated with pink blossom;  I remember begging her to let me have a cup of tea in it when I visited as a child.  The design on the nails suited the whole look perfectly, and with spring just around the corner  I wanted to capture the promise of warm afternoon’s sat reading magazines with scones laden with jam and cream.
I have been working a lot with gel lately, and using Ez flow’s impressive range to create a light delicate look which was simple and effective.  Something really easy for you to use on your clients, these roses are the easiest to apply when they have been pre made on the Arabella forms, you can take some of those quiet moments in the salon and practise your skills, plus be productive at the same time.  Store the roses until you can apply them on your client’s free edge and cap the whole design later. Find out more at 
May Cover 2010

The Harlequin nails took a bit longer, and this photo shoot was inspired by Lady Gaga. My photographer Paul is a huge fan and whenever we have our monthly ‘creative’ meeting he plays me one of her music video’s to get me motivated.  I have a draw full of glitters and powders, spangles, and gems, shell wrap and gold leaf so this was a perfect opportunity to make use of them, making a patch work effect on the tips.  Most of the glitters came from NFU.Oh supplied by Affinti Nails and Beauty combined with some of my left over gems I worked steadily one Sunday afternoon and pre made all the tips to apply on my model the day before the shoot. These nails do take some time, but are well worth it and pre making the tips on the Arabella forms means they can be applied on the free edge and then capped and finished in no time at all. I knew this particular shot required a lot more time for the makeup, where I applied gems and  pigments over the body.  

For the step by steps on how I created these nails please visit - downloads

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Increase income this summer.

Get creative and increase your income.
These are my top tips on how to refresh your gel and acrylic design nails without spending a penny.

Whether the current economics are affecting you or not, we as creative types are always able to come up with different ways of working with our products.  It is through these creative solutions that we may, by chance see a new and different income stream happen, or find a clever way to save some money.  

In order to make these ten top tips work, you need a draw full of old gel colours and pots half full of coloured acrylic powders?  Do you have a box in the back of the cupboard full of nail art paints, shimmers and foils?  With a little bit of glitter, or some coloured pigment, we can revitalize our colour pallets, and bring some new and exciting ideas’s to our design nails, plus save you money.

 1. Add some glitz and glam and jazz up those boring pink and whites, using up your old glitters and shimmer powders by mixing them into your clear or pink gel.

2. Combining pigments or even coloured acrylic powder can enhance your Gel colour pallet, especially gold or silver to refine designs.

3. Use a small amount of gel on the tip of your brush to pick up glitter or bullion beads; this will add depth to a design.

4. Gel as an overlay will magnify and enhance your designs, whereas acrylic will flatten and push it back.  Combine both acrylic and gel together in your nails to create a new and brighter look.  Working with all your products together will give you more options.

5. Gold or silver leaf used within your design can completely refresh tired looking nails.

6.  If you have a small amount of gel colour left but not enough to do a whole set, then spread it out thinly onto sculpting forms or grease proof paper.  Cure this under your lamp for 3 mins, then break into small shards or cut with shaped cutters (available from hobby craft stores) and make your own myler inserts.  Stringing your gel, overlapping colours will create a caged look on the free edge.

7. Use material, lace and cellophane from sweet wrappers or florist paper in your nails.  Cut into tiny shapes or use a hole punch. Keep your eyes open for cellophane wrappers with patterns or pictures which you can incorporate into your nails.

8. Don’t be afraid to mix acrylic colours, start with a base colour and add small amounts.  There are recipes available for cover pinks and natural whites, but creating your own colours can be very satisfying, especially using up the odds and ends of colours in your stock cupboard.

9. I get asked how best to create an elaborate design in a short time.   Pre-prepare items before hand, by making your own little flowers out of gel and acrylic which you can place on the nail bed will save you buying them and help you practice your skills.  

10. Arabella Fantasy Forms are a great way of producing your own encapsulated items, and with their pre formed curve will allow the flowers and shapes to fit neatly onto the nails;  available at

Selling your new found creativity is easy; list them in your service menu as limited edition designs, incorporating your marketing will draw attention to design nails and encourage your clients to try.  It is worth booking in a workshop or skill building class to find alternative ways to create design nails.  Working smart with your gel and acrylic will pay off in the long run.